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Organizing Researching

Essay by   •  March 14, 2011  •  291 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,227 Views

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Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated MS, formerly known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, is more common in women, and has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000 depending on the country or specific population.[1] MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot.

MS affects the areas of the brain and spinal cord known as the white matter. These cells carry signals in between the grey matter areas, where the processing is done, and between these and the rest of the body. More specifically, MS destroys oligodendrocytes which are the cells responsible for creating and maintaining a fatty layer, known as the myelin sheath, which helps the neurons carry electrical signals. MS results in a thinning or complete loss of myelin and, less frequently, the cutting (transection) of the neuron's extensions or axons. When the myelin is lost, the neurons can no longer effectively conduct their electrical signals. The name multiple sclerosis refers to the scars (scleroses - better known as plaques or lesions) in the white matter. Loss of myelin in these lesions causes some of the symptoms, which vary widely depending upon which signals are interrupted. However, more advanced forms of imaging are now showing that much of the damage happens outside these regions. Almost any neurological symptom can accompany the disease.

MS takes several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Most people are first diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS but develop secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) after a number of years. Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often persist, especially as the disease advances.

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